April 7, 2008 - By

Why do we like the songs we like?

Scientists would tell us that when you listen to a song you like your brain releases pleasing chemicals. Some people get this from country music, some don’t. Stylistically speaking, I like a lot of music that has a similar feel to it, even a similar sound. I recently read an article which theorized that the overall ‘timber’ of the song is what makes it appeal to you.

Dictionary.com (eventually) defines Timber as the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound). For a simple example, if you were to play the 12th fret on the lowest string of a bass guitar, and then play the lowest string open on a guitar – you’d be playing an “E” in the same octave, but the difference you’d be hearing would be the timber. Timber can be made more complex when you add other instruments and vocals, but the principle is the same.

My wife loves the following songs:
Hot Chip – Over and Over,
Menomena – Pelican,
Elbow – Leaders of the Free world.

These songs don’t sound alike, strictly speaking they’re not even the same genre, but they have a similar timber in terms of distortion, calm vox and the “fullness” of the sound. Neat huh?

You can make the enjoyment of tunes as complicated as you like.


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This post was written by ArleyM